The process of aging is an intrinsic part of life. Everyone will age differently depending on a combination of genetics and lifestyle choices. While you are born with certain genes and predispositions, you do have a great deal of control over how your current and future health situation will play out. Our bodies will age with the hand of time from the inside and on theoutside. It is absolutely important that we take care of our internal bodies, but the outside, or in other words, our skin, is what is most noticeable to ourselves and others. Our outside appearance is a big part of our personal identity. Through the acts of simple lifestyle choices, we can take care of our skin, slow down the inevitable effects of time, and face each day from here until the end with grace and confidence.
The obvious signs of aging skin are, but not limited to, dryness, coarseness, dullness, hyper-pigmentation, enlarged pores, fine lines, deep set wrinkles, and loss of elasticity. While these signs might naturally appear at some point in your life, there are certain lifestyle choices that can rapidly accelerate the visible aging process. The most common factors that are responsible for premature aging are sun exposure, smoking, dehydration, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, sleep deprivation, and stress.
The sun is your skin's worst enemy! The UVA and UVB rays are ever present and constantly attacking your skin. This free radical enemy cannot be avoided entirely (unless you never ever go outside or near a window), but there are quick and easy measures that can be taken to lessen the harmful effects of those beautiful sunny rays. Aside from limiting your sun exposure between 10am and 2pm when the sun is at its strongest, it is crucial that you protect your skin with sunscreen. Now, there are so many great products that contain sunscreen and can easily be incorporated into your daily routine. Make sure that you are applying at least 15 SPF to your face and other exposed areas anytime you are planning on leaving your home. Being conscious of this will save your skin and reduce your risk of skin cancer.
If you don't smoke, this part doesn't apply to you. If you do smoke it is time to quit! There is nothing beneficial about smoking. Everything about smoking is detrimental to your health and the health of those around you. Smoking regularly and for a prolonged period of time can greatly contribute to the premature aging of your skin. Smoking cigarettes constricts blood flow and in turn causes your body to become oxygen starved. It also causes the collagen in your skin to start to breakdown, which will lead to sagging skin. Smokers also participate in repetitive facial movements, especially around the mouth, and over time wrinkles and fine lines will set from those habitual movements. The list could go on and on as to why smoking is a terrible habit, but for the purpose of this article, we will stop here.
Another habit, that especially when done in excess, which can contribute to age acceleration is alcohol consumption. Alcohol is a substance that is widely accepted and regularly indulged in our society. It should be noted however that alcohol can cause irreparable damage internally and externally. When alcohol is introduced into the body, your kidneys automatically start the process of trying to excrete it. This is not an easy task, and with a considerable amount of alcohol your body will be required to work overtime. The processes that are necessary to filter out the alcohol from your body require a lot of water and your body will take that water wherever it can get it from. This is one of the reasons why you probably wake up after a night of drinking feeling severely dehydrated. When you are dehydrated on a regular basis, your skin is more susceptible to wrinkles and a lackluster appearance. Also, when your body is working overtime while you are sleeping, other necessary bodily functions that take place during the deep sleep stage, such as cell damage repair, might not effectively take place. The result of depriving your body of those critical hours can cause you to appear tired and worn down.
The sun, tobacco, and alcohol are enemies to your skin. It is important to educate yourself and take the necessary precautions to limit this damage, if you want to prevent premature aging. Your skin is a window into your internal health. These three aging factors, in particular, do more than just speed up the hands of the clock; they can cause a long list of health problems, including several types of cancer.
You have one body; treat it like the temple that is it. This is your life, live it well.
Stay tuned later in the week for part 2 of "The Choices You Make Affect Your Face," as we continue by talking about the effects of stress on your skin and some simple ways to manage stress.
Thanks for sharing a smile with us!